Dementia & Sensory Challenges - Dementia can be more than memory

Lecturer and researcher at the School of Health Sciences and member of the all-Wales Centre for Ageing & Dementia Research, Catrin Hedd Jones has worked with leading specialist in Wales and members of the Merched y Wawr to translate and update the Dementia & Sensory Challenges – Dementia can be more than memory booklet in support of raising awareness around the sensory challenges for [some] people living with dementia through the Welsh medium.

Funded by Merched y Wawr and the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR) the aim of the new translation is to reach Welsh speaking members who have an interest in building on their knowledge of dementia. The updated version of the booklet includes key links to relevant supportive organisations as well as responses from Welsh speakers, living with dementia in Wales.

Glenda Roberts living with dementia said:

"When I first saw this booklet after my diagnosis of dementia everything made sense. You do not need to be afraid of dementia - life goes on." Catrin Hedd Jones added “the release of this booklet is an important step forward in ensuring that Welsh speakers living with dementia who may experience symptoms beyond memory loss access support. This has only been possible due to the continued support provided by Merched y Wawr, in particular, members in Pencader and Carmarthen and CADR and naturally all the individuals who shared their experiences and tips that contributed to the original publication. Electronic copies will also be available on the Bangor University website and we plan to build on this work in Wales as we work together to understand the sensory challenges faced by people living with dementia."

In 2015 the original booklet, funded by the Life Changes Trust, was inspired by and created with the words of people with dementia to give readers ideas on how to support people living with dementia, how to be understood and included, and to ensure individuals no longer felt isolated. 

Following on from the release of the updated booklet, there is potential for further, much needed research working with people to increase our understanding of the impact dementia may have on the senses such as taste, smell and hearing. Sarah Bant and Senior Audiologist at BCUHB said:

“I am delighted to see this excellent resource being made available in Welsh language. Even though these sensory challenges are reported by so many people, they are still not yet common knowledge; I am confident that sharing this book will help to change this.

Hearing challenges can be so isolating. Across Wales, NHS audiology services are working to understand and support people living with dementia and hearing difficulties. Please do speak to your local surgery if you need help or an assessment.”

Publication date: 2 March 2021